Members of the International Community Condemn Hungarian Anti-NGO Legislation

July 1, 2018

On June 20, 2018, Hungary’s parliament passed a legislation package which criminalizes the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in aiding migrants and asylum-seekers. In response, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission have published a joint opinion strongly condemning the decision. The legislation prohibits NGOs from participating in services as simple as distributing informational materials to migrants and translating asylum applications, with the excuse that NGOs are enabling illegal migration.

The joint statement argues that the new laws not only impede on the ability of non-governmental organizations to assist victims of human trafficking, but that they also interfere with the right to freedom of expression by stifling advocacy efforts. The organizations also highlight that the regulations are not in line with European legal standards and urges that the legislation “should not be adopted since it entails a risk of criminal prosecution for individuals and organizations providing lawful assistance to migrants and asylum seekers.” Read the full statement here.